Page last updated at 15:26 GMT, Wednesday, 21 July 2010 16:26 UK
British Pathe releases Shropshire archive films
Robbie Brigthwell at Lilleshall
From 1949 Lilleshall was run by the Central Council of Physical Recreation

British Pathe has released a new collection of Shropshire archive films.

The online compilation has been put together from 90,000 recently digitised reels of film.

British Pathe's UK collection dates from 1896 to 1976, some 3,500 hours of footage, and covers everything from quirky stories to momentous events.

Pathe was a common part of the cinema experience up until the 1970s. The news reports were run between longer films at cinemas across the country.

Teaching the art of long jumping
Today Lilleshall is still used as a centre for sports excellence

The Shropshire collection includes a 1959 coaching session at Lilleshall for British athletes, ahead of the following year's Olympic Games in Rome.

The footage shows coach JW Lloyd-Alford explaining the theory of long-jumping on a blackboard, while Donnington athlete Robbie Brightwell demonstrates a sprint start.

Material also includes royal visits to the county, the 1969 Shrewsbury Flower Show, Boys Brigade camps and renowned coracle maker Harry Rogers fishing on the River Severn in Ironbridge in 1948.

Among the more surprising stories is one of houses collapsing in Jackfield in 1952, due to subsidence caused by flooding and mining. Another film shows stunt diver Roy Fransen plunging 75 feet into a small tank of water.

British Pathe's footage is often used by historical documentary makers. The voiceovers, usually featuring clipped accents, have also been much-lampooned by comedian Harry Enfield, through his character Mr Cholmondley-Warner.

British Pathe's Alastair White explained what made the news coverage so distinct: "Pathe were very aware that people had paid good money to go to the cinema... so all the news items have a real positive spin on them.

"Even if they're very dramatic stories or tragic stories they have an up-beat feel to them - and I think that's half the charm."

British Pathe's newly compiled Shropshire collection is available to view online.


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